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FEWtures: Innovative solutions for sustaining rural America
September 22 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A free public, virtual lecture presented by the School of Global Environmental Sustainability
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020
4 – 5pm
How can small towns and rural communities in remote agricultural regions meet their economic and food-energy-water (FEW) sustainability needs into the future? Dr. Mary Hill, professor at the University of Kansas and SoGES Visiting Fellow, will discuss the goals of the ongoing NSF FEWtures project to address this question, including how wind-driven electricity and new microgrid approaches can power two innovative sustainability solutions: (1) producing ammonia at small, locally owned facilities and (2) treating water at point of use. Ammonia can be used to fertilize crops, but a surprising and lesser known use of ammonia is as an energy storage mechanism that can power tractors. Water treatment may need to serve niche, high value uses to be economically viable. The potential of these solutions depends on new and evolving scientific advances. Done locally and designed well, these two ideas could, with participation of local stakeholders, contribute to the economic wellbeing of many small towns and rural communities. FEWtures involves evaluation of the science, engineering, economics, and development of decision-support resources to help local policymakers and stakeholders navigate the complex challenges ahead.
Dr. Hill’s research collaborators include: John Symons and Edward Peltier of the University of Kansas, Susan Stover (Kansas Geological Survey), Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Hongyu Wu, James Bloodgood, and Amber Campbell of Kansas State University, Peter Pfromm (Washington State University), Robert Barron (Western New England University), and Benjamin Gray (University of Montana).